Realise that this is a slightly belated piece on Diwali (or Deepavali depending on who asks and who responds) but it’s been stewing for a bit while I was away traipsing round the South of India in a desperate attempt to see as much of the country as I can. More on those journeys in a later post. This first.
We don’t realise how much we rely on light – it’s something that’s taken for granted and just accepted as ‘there’ until we don’t have it or are made to think a little more about what it means to us. The latter occurred recently during the Diwali celebrations. Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights and is a commemoration of King Rama’s return to his native city of Ayodhya after defeating Ravana, the demon of Lanka, rescuing his wife and ending 14 years of exile. Quite a momentous occasion for the citizens of Ayodhya who loved their exiled king and so the entire city was lit up with lamps, lanterns, candles and anything that glittered in the night to welcome their beloved king.
Diwali also has a deeper significance, one that cuts across religious and ethnic boundaries. Light is symbolic of all that is good – it dispels fear-inducing darkness, allows us to see and work and is the source of all that we have on this earth. It’s no wonder that lights are venerated and used in so many forms of worship in many religions across the world. It’s through this that we realise how important light is and our dependence on it for all that we do.
The symbolism of light pervades many religions and cultures too – Christ told us that he is the light to the world and we should be too; lights and lanterns are used by the Chinese celebrate mid-autumn festival too. We look to light as things that are good and are glad that it’s there. I’ve used light in two separate posts here too (here on lighting candles and here on being a lamp to others) and it’s no coincidence that I’m writing about it again.
So after the lamps die out and the fireworks are expended, we still remember that we can and should be lights to others. We can make that difference by sharing the light that we have and shedding that little bit more light for others to get on their way. After all, are we not but little lampposts to the others we meet?